You can't have your cake and eat it too, says long-time Southampton resident

October 8, 21013


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No one doubted the passion and sincerity of Hugh Wright when he spoke on Tuesday, October 8 (2013) at the Joint Review Panel hearing on the subject of the deep geologic repository (DGR) in Port Elgin.

"I think I can say that speak with confidence for the 97 per cent (97%) of the silent majority of people in these parts," said Wright.  "I have lived in the same house (Southampton) for 35 years and raised three kids."

He explained that,  "Nuclear brought me here as it did workers from across Ontario, Canada and the world ... top scientists, engineers and technicians - all well qualified and educated in nuclear business, first at Deep River and then here on site.  You won't find a more qualified workforce anywhere.  This has been a nuclear community for over half a century.  What started at Douglas Point in 1959 has, since then seen more than 100,000 workers pass through the site."

"There was harmony, respect and prosperity," he added, "and everyone benefitted - the towns, the merchants and the farmers.  I know one farmer whose four kids were employed at the site and that wasn't unusual.  There was mutual respect and trust between the community and the nuclear plant, which at peak produced one third of Ontario's power, 365 days a year, night and day ... when most of you were tucked up in your beds."

The last couple of years, according to Wright, has seen an influx of tourists and vocal part-time residents to Southampton  "... who seem hell-bent on destroying the trust between the community and nuclear.  They claim they are not anti-nuclear just anti-DGR. This is absurd!  This is nonsense!  You're either for nuclear in its entirety, or against ... you cannot pick and choose ... you cannot have your cake and eat it too ... you cannot have it both ways!"

Wright pointed out that newcomers have arrived knowing the community has been nuclear for half a century and asked  " ... why would they come if they know that?"  

"Not content to enjoy the beauty of the beach and the sunsets  and to 'be in Rome and do as the Romans do, they start a protest," said Wright, "a campaign of fear-mongering and scare tactics attempting to lump spent fuel into the DGR project, a different project entirely, to scare the less informed among us. 

They have spread misinformation among us.  I watched their little protest march.  I have lived here in Southampton for 35 years and I didn't recognize any of them (protesters)." 

Wright went on say that the local elected officials have been verbally abused and the international nuclear warning sign has been misused by being plastered on billboards and signs, demeaning the town and disturbing the community.

"The Saugeen Residents' Association (SRA) has been hijacked.  It was meant to be a lobby for the town's welfare but it has become a DGR mouthpiece, so much so, that original members have either left or refuse to renew their memberships.  Check the (SRA) website.  You will not find one original member on the Executive ... it is a 'mucky' business, but they were all honourable men and women."

Wright went on to say that one of the presenters has been doing this for years ... sneaking under the umbrella of a group with no interest in nuclear issues whatsoever. 

"We toured this group around Bruce A many years ago, gave them a presentation, coffee and sandwiches," said Wright. "The ladies loved it.  They were from a gardening club that he had infiltrated.  The next day he was in the Owen Sound newspaper telling  the-then President, Ken Talbot to 'come clean and stop hiding'.  The ladies who were gardening and other groups took legal action to stop him from misusing their names.

According to Wright, this is somewhat similar to what has happened to the Southampton Residents Association (SRA).

"He's still here and that's a mentality we are dealing in these protests," added Wright. "It's a narrow-minded mentality like those people who, when Edison invented the light bulb preferred to stick to candles lest the new light bulb might explode."  


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Wright went on to explain that most of the waste, which is low-level, can be put into an ordinary kitchen garbage without doing any harm, and is handled every day at the site.

"Intermediate is different," agreed Wright.  "It is higher but can be cut and sealed and stored safely and Canadian Nuclear has always been of the most exceptionally high standard.  The DGR project has been thoroughly researched by the best scientific and geological experts anywhere in the world.  Safety precautions, as in all Canadian Nuclear, are absolutely thorough and are taken to the 'nth' degree."

Wright pointed out that the waste is " ... our baby.  We have created it.  To truck it elsewhere would be the height of gross irresponsibility."

"Why people would come to a community that has been nuclear for more than half a century and want to change things is beyond me," he said.  "You won't see many of the signs in Port Elgin or Kincardine and, in Southampton, as people have become aware of the facts, there is less misuse of the international warning sign ... the bubble has burst."

"It's all much ado about nothing.  The hard-working silent majority, the people of Bruce County with common sense, solid scientific research and expertise and the safest location geological experts can find will overcome the objections of amateur protesters and pseudo-signs and bring the DGR home to where it belongs in the Bruce ... it is the right thing to do.  It would mean that young people would find work and stay and not be forced to leave the home they love.

I think I state with confidence what most people want in these parts. Most people want the DGR here in Bruce County.  They have complete trust in the process and it is that simple." 

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013